Sweating the Small Stuff

Sweating the Small Stuff

"Don't sweat the small stuff". It's quite wise advice, in general; you can let the person who carved you up on the way to work bother you all day, rehearsing what you should have yelled from the car window and hoping that one day your paths will cross again, or you can choose to let it go and have a good day instead. But how you choose to take and apply this in life relies entirely on what you consider to be the 'small stuff'.

Here at Marloe Watch Company, there isn't much small stuff. It's all big stuff to us. So we sweat it, a lot - not in a gross way - because we obsess over minor details, in the hope that our customers appreciate them. Take our packaging; we have invested significant time, resource and budget into our packaging over the last 6 months. It's a risky business, because we know that people are generally divided into two camps; the rip-it-open and get straight to the contents type, and the make-a-ceremony-out-of-it, savour the little details, take your time type. Here at MWC, we always fall into the former camp if we are opening snacks, and the latter if we're opening a special product. We know not everyone cares about a simple box; but we also know a lot of our customers do, and that's enough motivation for us to pour our resources into getting it right.

That's why we make a big deal out of our packaging, and it's why - if you've purchased one of our newer releases - you've hopefully noticed the upgrade that it has received. We know buying a watch isn't an everyday thing - unlike ripping open a packet of Jaffa Cakes (other cake-based tangy snacks are available) - and so we want there to be an air of ceremony around opening a watch from Marloe Watch Company. We want you to discover the product, to unveil and uncover it layer by layer; until the watch itself is revealed.

Our quest for improved packaging began with the box below. We sat together earlier this year and made a very rough prototype from scraps of cardboard, sketching, quibbling and quarrelling over what the key elements were; what was important to us, and what would be important to our customers. It boiled down to our desire to provide something that made the unboxing experience as premium and exciting as possible, and making the packaging, in some cases a throw-away object, something truly special. First impressions are everything, and we want the quality of our watches to be echoed in their surroundings from the moment they arrive with our customers. Our key desires were for our packaging to be attractive, layered, interesting and surprising, using quality materials with minimal environmental impact.

Prototype Box

The process of designing a box is really quite different to the process of designing a watch. With our packaging, we were working within a specific framework; we needed to take sustainability, size, functionality and budget into account alongside style. When we design watches, we start with wild imaginings; shaping inspiration into a physical being devoid of boundaries, feeling for what works and what doesn't style-wise, then a contracting and expanding process until we arrive at the distilled, honed, fine-tuned core of the design. 

Once we had our measurements and a design in mind, it was time to find the right partner; someone who could manufacture our vision to the exacting specifications and standards that we had set for ourselves. Having the right manufacturing partners in place is key to Marloe Watch Company; we don't only need quality, we need communication and a true partnership. We work best with real human beings rather than online forms and we value being able to consult with experts in their respective fields; to learn from them, adapt our own approach if necessary, and to create something truly special together. Thankfully we found that in our new partner. We have had watch designs turned down for being too complicated, too new, too challenging; it hasn't stopped us and we continue to seek the right team for that design, but it was positive - and somewhat of a relief - that our exacting specification and vision wasn't off-putting to our new packaging partner. They embraced the challenge with relish and, together, we brought it to life.


In parallel we began working with a incredibly talented printer to create our manuals; each range and each special edition with its own personal manual, telling the story of the watch's inspiration and design process, as well as taking a closer look at the inner workings and features of the watch you have just received. Each manual takes around 3-4 weeks to produce, including copywriting and photography. We believe in telling the full story of each of our watches, and a physical manual is a beautiful way of doing this; of delving in, in your own time and environment, and savouring and absorbing both the essential information and the exciting stuff.


With stock remaining of our previous packaging, and acutely aware of our environmental responsibility, we decided to roll out our new packaging gradually. We sent out the first of our new packaging with the launch of the Haskell Black Edition, followed by Morars, and most recently the Coniston Speed Edition and Haskell Polar Blue Edition. We were conscious that, by launching our multi-faceted new packaging, we may disappoint some customers still receiving our previous packaging. We do hope that our motive is clear here; we still adore our original packaging and do not wish to waste it. The original, heavy wooden Haskell box, with its book cloth lining and tan leather patch is swiftly becoming a heritage piece and part of our history. The Coniston, Cherwell and Derwent boxes with their embossed inserts and printed bands, as well as the older outer boxes, all have their places within our history book and hearts, and we feel as proud as ever to be sending them out. The Cherwell and Derwent have now left us, and it won't be long until the First Edition Conistons have sold out too, which is when we will bid a final goodbye to our previous packaging.

The physical result of this ongoing journey is the packaging that you may have received; on the outside, our fully recyclable, custom-printed box, made from 70% recycled material giving a hint at its contents. Inside, beneath the printed message from us to you, nestled carefully within 100% recycled shredded paper, sits our monolithic black box. Removing its lid reveals the custom-printed manual associated with your particular watch, and beneath that, your authenticity card nestled in its perfectly cut slot. The carefully stitched ribbon tab allows you to lift off the upper tray and reveals your watch within; sitting securely upon its cushion throne, with its book cloth surround and beneath a hidden ceiling of British leather bearing our company's mantra. It's simple, refined, efficient yet special; exactly what we dreamed up as we wrestled together a box prototype from scraps of cardboard and sellotape all those months ago.


We know you're here for the watches; and we assure you, we are too. But the small stuff that demands attention around the watches matters to us, and in every spare moment where we aren't designing watches or managing this ever-growing business, we are focusing on the little things; on making small improvements, on growing in all the right ways, a little every day. Sometimes these things are obvious to our customers, and sometimes they're just for us; but it's constant, and it's tiring, and it's exhilarating, and it's everything we stand for as a small British business. Whether you're a ripper or a ceremonial box opener, we hope you love receiving something from the postman when it's got our stamp on it, and that the attention and passion that has been poured into it is palpable. 

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  • H8 Guys,
    Just wanted to let you know I love the new packaging. It’s especially important when ordering on line when it is likely you won’t have seen the watch in the flesh. Great packaging, building the anticipation before you meet your new timepiece face to face for the first time is a key part of the experience. Keep up the great work.

    Ian Allison
  • Great reading that there will be a series of publications regarding each watch series, I’m looking fwd to getting my copy of each them. Your watches are not only great to look at and own, but also with each one having it’s own design story makes for an interesting conversation with people interested in watches & history. It’s also nice to see you’re taking care of the smaller detail too.

    Mark Henry
  • Having just ceremonially unpacked my Coniston ‘Speed Edition’ I do have to congratulate you on the quality of everything supplied it is truly superb!

    However, I do feel it is just too big, as someone who keeps all the originally supplied packaging I have to store this stuff – my OCD means I have to have this so that if sometime down the road I decide to move something along I know that it’s much easier to sell if everything is as originally supplied. It doesn’t matter of course that I might never sell anything, I still have to have it to hand…and you’ve made it worse by branding & putting signed text inside the lid of the shipping box – now I have to keep that as well ;-)

    Paul Williams
  • A beautifully written journal about the new packaging journey. It further confirms why I am so pleased ,even proud to have invested in MWC.

    Barry James

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